Thirty of the 60 most valuable guitars
Two days ago we featured Amazon's "Deal of the Day," which was Lytro's Illum 40 Megaray [sic] Light Field camera for $399, when previously the asking price had been either $1,600 or $1,300 or $600, depending on when you mean and who's saying. I just thought that for $400 it's a cool toy that some people would be interested in playing around with.
In a classic case of "nice work if you can get it," Michael Perini points out that Lytro has recently raised another $50 million based on the failure of the Lytro camera to win acceptance or gain any sort of traction. (That's like Kevin Costner ever working again after Waterworld or pretty much the arc of the fake billionaire's entire career.) Resource magazine online says that Lytro is moving out of "the digital imaging space" and taking its technologies elsewhere, for instance, possibly, virtual reality. (Or, if I may be allowed to so term it, the virtual reality space. Words are so satisfying.) And that in the business world this is called a "pivot."
Meanwhile back at the ranch, Lytro founder, executive chairman, and former CEO Ren Ng accepted a job as assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the College of Engineering at UC Berkeley—and Lytro announced that it will cut 20 to 50 people from its 130-person workforce. Some of them the same people, resourcemagonline implies, who worked 80 to 100 hours a week and slept under their desks. Hey, so the Silicon Valley startup myth doth not a mortal lock on riches make.
Lord of the flies
You'll recall also that TOP scooped the whole world not long ago by securing an exclusive interview with the Devil after said Prince of Darkness purchased the soul of The National Geographic. So you probably won't be too surprised that massive layoffs are occurring at the National Geographic Society too. The 180 employees who are being let go are part of the largest layoffs in the Society's 127-year-history, according to The Washington Post, which noted that "the reduction also will affect people who work for the National Geographic Channel, the most profitable part of the organization," adding, with a very innocent look in its eye, that "several people in the channel’s fact-checking department, for example, were terminated on Tuesday." Italics mine. Ooh!—Ooh!—You just got burned, Lucifer. I love that "for example," like the Post wasn't intentionally poking Satan with a stick.
But let's face it, it only stings because it's true. We all know that The Devil considers facts to be pesky, annoying things, like flies.
'If your mother says she loves you, verify'*
I came across this policy in my surfing yesterday, in an article on gizmag about the sixty most valuable guitars ever sold:
The following list of the most valuable guitars sold at auction has been compiled in the same way we have compiled our other "most valuable" lists (such as the most valuable cars, most valuable motorcycles and most valuable movie cars), in that we only count those sold at auction which can hence be verified as sold at a certain price by a reputable source (the auction house). Private sales don't count because there is no publicly available record of the transaction (and word-of-mouth tends to exaggerate a price).
Of course what sprung to my mind was photographer Peter Lik, who claimed not long ago to have sold a scenic picture of a slot canyon for a preposterous price, only he wouldn't identify the buyer or provide any hard evidence that the sale was real. I didn't buy it, myself. (Ya see what I did there. Love words!)
gizmag's policy is the best one, I think. Where records for the most valuable photograph are concerned, private sales shouldn't count.
(Thanks to Michael Perini and David Lobato)
*Old saying in journalism
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Chuck Albertson: "John Kay, an economist who writes in the Financial Times, once wrote that he was going to scream every time someone at a conference he was attending referred to so-and-so company doing business in a 'space' (when what they meant was a 'market'). Then he realized that if he did that, the conference venue would sound like the interrogation cells at Gitmo. So he stifled himself."
John Camp: "I have, unfortunately, a guitar habit, and the prices of true vintage guitars in good shape can be obscene, which is why I don't have one. A vintage '59 Gibson Les Paul in good shape will set you back in the high five-figures, or more. (There are rumors of a perfect '59 Les Paul for which the dealer is asking almost a half million dollars.)
"But the curious thing, to my mind, is why anyone would pay a million bucks for a vintage electric guitar or any mass-maket vintage guitar solely because it was played by a star. You could get (or even make on your kitchen table from pre-cut parts) a guitar that would be sonically indistinguishable from Clapton's guitars, for ~$300 (make it yourself) to $2,000 (high end Fender Strat.) The only additional value is the Clapton connection, and the Baby Boom is dying out. In thirty years, your $1 million guitar is going to be worth a few thousand dollars, much to the distress of your heirs, because nobody will remember who Clapton was. In the meantime, the million you're gong to piss away on a guitar could save several thousand lives in Africa, India or the Middle East...."
Mike replies: I was surprised that Roy Rogers' guitar made the list. Probably more people remember him than remember Tom Mix, but I don't think he's a household name any more. Except in a few cases, as you note, fame is fleeting. Although I'm guessing they'll still remember the Beatles in 100 years.
Keamu: "Not defending Rupert 'The Devil' Murdoch here, but having worked on the integration of a few acquired companies, one thing comes to mind: many functions that were necessary when the acquired company was independent (accounting, order management, possibly even post-production in this case) become redundant because the buying entity has its own, often larger-scale teams serving these functions. Indeed, these 'syngergies' are often part of the justification for acquiring a company. Left unsaid is whether The Devil already has a fact checking team.... The acquired company often ends up being the one which has to make the buying company's grand plan work...."